Football

Arsenal need luck to qualify from Champions League group

This Arsenal team will be stretched all the way (©GettyImages)
This Arsenal team will be stretched all the way (©GettyImages).

Arsenal start the group stages of the UEFA Champions' League on a high after a convincing performance in the two legged qualifier with Fenerbahce.

Over a difficult couple of matches sandwiched between a typical injury ridden start to the season, the Gunners were impressive and took their now customary place in the group stages without conceding a goal.

This is familiar territory for the Gunners - since the turn of the century they have always qualified from the group stages of Europe's elite tournament. This is a unique achievement, and somewhat counter balances the club's failure to lift a trophy over the last eight seasons. 

Over the last three seasons progress beyond the 1first knock out stage has not been possible. One of the reasons for their failure to progress beyond the round of 16 is that they have faced tough opponents as a result of not topping their group.

This season the Gunners are in a difficult group and injuries to key players is an additional challenge. Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Olympique de Marseille pose a threat to the Gunners progress forward.

The first priority must be qualification, and if they top the group it will be the icing on the cake. But to achieve that will test Arsene Wenger & his team - hope is built around Olivier Giroud & Aaron Ramsey's form and the promise of Mesut Ozil stamping his class on a tricky group.

Another reason for hope is the away form the Gunners are enjoying - ever since they lost at White Hart Lane last season their away wins have included wins at last season's eventual champions Bayern Munich, at Fenerbahce and most recently at Sunderland.

This season's group stage for the Gunners start with an away game at Marseille - a game the Gunners will be hoping to win and considering other opponents in the group, needing to win.

This game will in more ways than one determine progress. With key players like Per Mertesacker returning from illness and Giroud likely to be fit, three points at the start can be expected if the team can play to form and potential.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football
Arsenal

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